Should You Count Calories?

Counting calories in smartphone. Concept of app for healthcare

Are you a calorie counter? Many dieters don’t let a day go by without counting every calorie that goes into their mouth. A woman in one of my corporate wellness groups says that she has been tracking her calories to manage her weight most of her adult life.

Scientifically calorie counting makes sense. If you only eat only a certain amount of calories each day according to your height, weight and activity level you should be able to maintain your weight. This is a very practical way to manage your weight.

Getting to know the calorie counts of the typical foods that you eat on a daily basis isn’t too difficult. There are several apps out there now like My Fitness Pal and Lose it! that can help you to track your daily food intake and exercise. I used to recommend Lose it! to all my clients because it was so easy to use.

I think calorie counting can help with weight loss if: A. It makes you feel good and B. You are an emotional match to your desired end result for weight loss. Let me clarify what I mean. If counting calories makes you feel bad because maybe it makes you feel like you are depriving yourself or because you don’t like the idea of having to account for every bite of food that goes into your mouth then I say, “Don’t do it.” If you are trying to lose weight by doing something that makes you feel bad then I can almost guarantee you won’t achieve long term results.

Counting calories is fine also if you are an emotional match to your weight loss goal. What does that mean? Does your weight loss goal make you feel good? If you have a positive vibe about how you want to look and feel when you lose weight then you are on the right track. But let’s say that the thought of losing 30 pounds makes you feel ill. Then I don’t recommend calorie counting or even trying to lose weight when you feel this way.

I believe that your weight loss goals need to make you feel good if you want to experience long term success. The most important task at this point in time is to focus on improving your emotional well-being. This is way more important than going on any diet. If you would like a good calorie counting app then check out Lose it! But I don’t recommend counting calories if it is going to ultimately derail your weight loss goals.

That woman who was in my corporate wellness group stopped counting calories after twenty years because she realized she felt like a slave to this practice. She said that as she improved her emotional well-being she felt less and less of a need to keep track of her daily calories. Now she says, “I feel such a new sense of freedom since I can eat without the constant need to track my calories.”

Please let me know in the comments below: Are you a calorie counter? Has it helped or hindered your ability to lose or maintain your weight? Blog

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